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Retired Police Beekeeper Rescues 40,000 Bees from Flushing Home

By Katie Honan | May 19, 2015 12:05pm
 Tony Bees saved a large hive that had grown underneath a second-floor balcony.
Tony Bees saved a large hive that had grown underneath a second-floor balcony.
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BMR Breaking News/ Roy Renna

FLUSHING — A Queens home was abuzz after thousands of bees were discovered living in a narrow space under a second-floor bedroom, which a beekeeper called "perfect conditions" for the massive hive.

Mary Jean Dyczko, 44, first contacted retired NYPD Detective Anthony Planakis, known as Tony Bees, last July to help with her bee infestation.

She spotted hundreds of bees underneath the balcony off her bedroom, and the buzzers prevented her from entertaining outside all last summer.

She thankfully couldn't hear them from her bedroom — but she said it was "freaky" to know they were there.

Once she realized they were honeybees, Dyczko wanted to save them. 

"I don't hate them enough to have them destroyed, but I don't love them enough to have them live with me either," she said.

Planakis convinced her to wait until this spring for him to rescue them, and when he returned May 18 the hive had grown to approximately 40,000 bees.

Using infrared technology and a camera on a pole, he found the hive had grown inside the house at 47-03 168th St., along a steel beam that ran halfway through the home. 

It took him more than three hours to extract the bees from the narrow space, which he said was climate-controlled and "perfect" for the hive.

He said he grabbed the bees just in time.

"In two weeks you would have broadcast some major swarms there," he said, noting that the home's location near tree-filled Flushing Cemetery and Kissena Park produces many bees.

Two queen bees were about to be born, and another queen was already living in the hive, he said.

After Planakis freed the bees, another local beekeeper and retired firefighter, Steve Katz, planned to take them to his farm upstate.

Dyzcko called the experience "amazing and scary at the same time," and was looking forward to using her backyard again.

"I'm very happy that they're relocating to someplace else," she said. "I can actually entertain and sit outside without people feeling uncomfortable."